Peter Paczolay, the president of Hungary’s Constitutional Court, said in a radio interview on Thursday that lawmakers are required to implement the court’s decisions, this being among the main principles of a law-governed state.
Hungary’s top court on Monday axed provisions of a law which fixed the retirement age of judges to the general retirement age of 62 with retroactive effect to January 1 this year.
Neither the government nor parliament should disregard or circumvent the content or spirit of the court’s decisions, he said.
Speaking on public radio’s 180 minute morning programme, Paczolay said the majority of the court’s judges regarded the radical reduction in the retirement age of judges and the fast pace of its implementation as unconstitutional.
Asked about the very narrow majority with which the court had passed the decision, Paczolay said that such rulings are often based on a “tight” vote.
In Monday’s ruling, 7 of the court’s 15 members supported scrapping the provisions, including Paczolay, and 7 voted against; one judge was absent due to illness. Under the law on the Constitutional Court, in case of an even-number vote, the vote of the court’s president is decisive.
Paczolay said he personally would have preferred a decision made with a greater consensus.
He said the court had annulled the provisions on the retirement judges and as such had not stated a position on whether retired judges should be re-employed.
The court said that both the form and content of the law violated the constitutional requirement that judges be independent.
The law, subject to infringement proceedings launched by the European Commission, reduces the retirement age of judges, prosecutors and notaries from 70 to the general retirement age of 62 years, which, in effect, has forced the departure of a large number of judges.